Calais chaos and a proposed CVA
The RHA has called for better information to be made available to truck operators about cross-Channel delays after an alarming spike in illegal migrant activity in Calais. Following a series of strikes by French ferry staff, trucks have been caught up in hours of delays and subsequently targeted by migrants attempting to enter the UK illegally, producing scenes prime minister David Cameron described as “totally unacceptable”.
Almost half the apprentices entering the logistics industry are over the age of 25, according to figures from research and marketing agency Firedog – the company led by former Skills for Logistics MD Ross Moloney. In the academic year 2013/14, said Firedog, 49% of apprentices entering the industry were over 25, with 33% aged 19 to 24 and 18% between 16 and 18 years old.
Pall-ex MD Kevin Buchanan has come out in favour of the United Kingdom remaining in the EU, emphasising that its pan-European franchise model relies on free trade across international borders. He said: ““We are building a business for the future, and Europe plays a big part in the future of our business. Being a part of the EU is absolutely crucial to this vision.”
A meeting of creditors of Leicester haulier A M Widdowson & Son will take place on 3 July ahead of a proposed CVA. According to a nominees’ report Widdowson has appointed insolvency practitioners Leonard Curtis, which has recommended that for there to be a viable business going forward creditors will be returned 36.12p in the pound. HMRC issued a winding-up petition against Widdowson in respect of £2.46m in unpaid VAT, PAYE and corporation tax. That petition has been adjourned until 6 July but a meeting is scheduled before for creditors to discuss a proposed CVA.
Premier Logistics MD Lee Christopher has said that purchase of fellow Pall-Ex member CJ Express will push the business up to an annualised turnover of £21m. It purchased the Hull-based operator in May, and it now means that Premier Logistics has approximately 150 employees, 125 vehicles and 300,000 ft2 of warehousing space across its three locations.
Union Unite has begun balloting more than 200 drivers and warehousing staff at white goods manufacturer Indesit UK about possible industrial action over pay settlements and redundancy terms. Unite regional officer Mark Plumb said the ballot, which ends on 7 July, was the result of anger over two years of sub-inflation pay settlements and moves by Indesit to lower the value of redundancy payouts.
Tilbury, Essex-based haulage, freight forwarding and logistics firm Arcese UK said it is working to address its business performance after suffering a 90% fall in profit over the past two years. Turnover in the year ending 31 December 2014 fell 4% to £23.02m (2013: £24.07m), while pre-tax profit dropped 85% to just under £37,000 (2013: £258,000)
Sir Peter Hendy, London’s transport commissioner, has stepped down to take the role of chairman at Network Rail. Hendy was at the helm of the transport organisation at TfL for nine years, having first joined the then London Transport 40 years ago as a graduate trainee. His successor will be announced in due course.
Elddis Transport MD Nigel Cook has been appointed chairman of the High Cube Network, a consortium of eight operators, including Elddis, S&R Smith and Sons and Owens Transport, that was launched in April.